Contains a number of asteroids from a NASA spacecraft This week’s capture Scientists said Friday that it is open and that precious particles are floating into space.
The news came three days after the Osiris-Rex spacecraft struck Benu 200 meters away.
Mission Dante Loretta, the mission’s chief scientist, said Tuesday’s operation had collected more material than expected to return to Earth – in hundreds of grams. The sample container at the end of the robot arm penetrated very deep into the asteroid and with such force pulled the rocks and split the edge of the lid.
The team was scrambling to include the sample container return capsule on Tuesday itself – sooner than originally planned – for the long journey home. The pieces continue to escape, and scientists want to reduce the loss.
“Time is of the essence,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA’s science missions.
As the spacecraft retreats from Bennu, it is surrounded by a cloud of asteroid particles – about half an ounce (5 to 10 grams) at any given time. Loretta says that once the robot arm stopped moving and was locked in place.
NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission requirement was more than $ 800 million – at least 2 cases (60 grams) of samples to be returned. Carbon-rich materials preserve the protective building blocks of our solar system and help scientists better understand how planets formed and how life originated on Earth.
Launched in 2016, the spacecraft reached Bennu in 2018. Regardless of what is on board, it will leave the asteroid’s orbit in March. Samples will not return to Earth until 2023.
Japan is waiting for the second batch of samples taken from another asteroid, in December.
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